Former Balers standout Stevens to run at SJSU

Lenae Stevens, shown here running for Hartnell College, is a 2012 San Benito High graduate who earned a spot on the new San Jose State women's track and field team.

Despite having never won an individual championship race in high school, Lenae Stevens finds herself as a part of history.
The San Jose State junior has earned a spot on the Spartans women’s track and field team, which made its debut as a program in 2013.
“It’s really exciting to be a part of a program that is just starting up and trying to make a name for ourselves,” said Stevens, a 2012 San Benito High graduate and Hartrnell College transfer. “I like working with people that are talented.”
Stevens has been like a sponge since arriving at Hartnell two years ago, applying everything she was taught and translating it to faster times on the track. Stevens credited Hartnell sprints coach Ed Barber for refining her technique, which was instrumental in Stevens clocking a personal-best 12.58 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
In addition, Stevens ran a 26.69 in the 200 and was part of the school’s fastest 4×100 relay team and the second fastest 4×400 relay team.
“There was a lot about sprinting I didn’t know about before I came to Hartnell,” Stevens said. “The coaches helped me a lot, along with the weight training we did three times a week. I came into Hartnell not knowing what I could achieve, and I exceeded even my own expectations.”
SJSU assistant coach Kelley Watson saw plenty of potential off the videos of Stevens in competition on Hartnell’s Facebook page, and once Stevens hit the required times Watson gave her, she was offered a spot on the team as a preferred walk-on.
Like most athletes, Stevens will get a chance to earn a scholarship if her performance warrants it. She’ll start the indoor NCAA season in January before transitioning to the outdoor season in the spring. Although Stevens made her mark in the 100—and to a lesser extent, the 200—at Hartnell, the 400 might end up being her best event.
Stevens actually didn’t compete for a track team until her sophomore year at San Benito, and this was only after realizing during her freshman year on the varsity softball team that she was more cut out for the oval than the diamond.
Stevens was mainly used as a pinch runner because of her speed around the basepaths. It was evident from an early age that Stevens had speed. The coaches on the Hollister Heat softball team recognized it, remarking at how fast Stevens could motor around the basepaths.
Stevens, who is majoring in health sciences with a minor in nutrition, carried a 3.7 GPA at Hartnell. Once her running days are over, Stevens plans on being a community health promoter, dietitian or nutritionist.
“In the last couple of years I’ve realized the difference nutrition can make in your athletic performance and just overall well being,” she said.
Stevens and her father, Keith, had a long discussion with Watson on one of her campus visits.
“She said she saw a lot of potential in me,” Stevens said. “I see it in myself now, and it’s a matter of listening to my coaches and working hard to make things happen.”

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